If you watched the SuperBowl, you might have seen the absurd trailer for the new EA Game--a video game adaptation of Dante's Inferno, recreating Dante's amble through the levels of Hell with Virgil as a guide, except this time as a fighting game using Death's massive scythe as your weapon as you wade your way through the rivers of blood to defeat Lucifer and rescue a barebreasted Beatrice (who Lucifer has abducted because he needs to wed a heaven-bound soul to break free from Hell and make an another assault on the Throne of God).
In terms of mythology the game looks utterly incoherent. Inferno was never much of a hack and slash story in the first place--it's not exactly Beowulf. It's a travel guide, not an adventure story. And it doesn't exactly leave a lot of room for sequels. Purgatory and Paradise will take even more finagling to turn into hack and slash games. Though hopefully "God mode" will be accessible through some sort of cheat code (Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Select Sacrifice Isaac, I'm hoping).
It's not a terrible idea. The God of War games have been a huge success, both monetarily and entertainingly. The games, which take Greek mythology and stir into into an action-packed stew, allow you to travel across Greece, fight gorgons, minotaurs, Titans, and more, with the goal of killing Ares and replacing him as the God of War. You interact with the fates. You get to kick the shit of Icarus and take his wings, for Zeus's sake! Who doesn't want to do that?
Inferno might actually wind up being a good game. The reviews haven't been all that great, but who knows? The release of the original poem in a specially branded edition with the now free Longfellow translation seems to indicate that they're trying to milk this cash cow for every penny, whether it works or not. Seriously, check it out.
But seriously. There are better bits of world mythology to translate into games, though.
Orpheus-Escape from Hades: Fight your way down into Hades to rescue your lover Eurydice with only your lyre to save you. As befitting the myth, this is a sidescroller like the recent game Canabalt; you can't look back. Jump and run in your attempt to get free.
The Bhagavad-Gita: Real time strategy war game, as you play Arjuna assembling your troops and preparing to go to war. On the cusp of the battle, talk with your adviser and god Krishna on the inevitability of fate and the deaths of your friends and enemies. This is truly a game of suspense and strategy.
Forty Years in the Wilderness: A resource management game of the likes of the early Warcraft games, crossed with The Oregon Trail. Manage your caravan of Israelites as you cross the desert. Protect the Ark of the Covenant with your life, collect manna drops every morning, and train your troops as you prepare for the final assault on the Walls of Jerico.
Tower of Babel: A building game remiscent of Tetris and Lemmings. Build higher and higher to get closer to God--as the building stacks up and your achievements accumulate, things get less coherent and the coordination of your efforts gets more difficult.
Isis: Tomb Raider: This puzzle actioner follows the proto-Lara Croft Isis as she adventures through the Egyptian pantheon, colelcting pieces of her dismembered husband Osiris and dodging the minions of Set, culminating of the creation of the golden phallus to replace Osiris's lost penis, unfortunately consumed by a catfish in the Nile. This opens possibilities for many sequels featuring her son Horus, who is a total badass and opens up a potential Egyptian version God of War franchise.
The Plagues: Another resource management game--build your pyramids and aqueducts ala Sim City, try to survive the worsening plagues that strike your city, from frogs to water turning to blood. Sustain your citizens on a diet of black pudding and prepare for the final plague: hiding each first born from the Angel of Death as he searches the city to put them to the sword.
Jonah and the Whale: A Treasure of Monkey Island style game where you strive to make your way to a comfortable well-shaded spot outside of Nineveh.
World of Xenu: Venture behind the Wall of Fire and try to save your family in this massively multiplayer roleplaying game, a came that can accommodate 17.8 billion people on each of 76 planets around 26 different stars. Travel by DC-8 to any of the worlds and attempt to avoid your fate on Teegeeack. Level advancement is achieved via a sliding pay scale.
Friedrich Nietzche's The Eternal Returner: Still in development.